VS Arashi (VS 嵐) is a game show hosted by the idol group Arashi, who compete against a different team of actors or comedians every week. This time, it’s actors – the cast of the drama Osozaki no Himawari (遅咲きのヒマワリ). Before we get to them, though, the members of Arashi congratulate leader Ohno Satoshi-san on his 32nd birthday:

Then they noticed how gaudy Aiba-kun’s clothes were – looks like he’s challenging Nino-kun for the VS Arashi crazy clothing license. Will Aiba-kun be the fashion leader next year, or will we continue to see Ninomiya’s comfy time clothes? It doesn’t look like the other Arashi members approve of Aiba’s apparel choice this time, anyway.

Appearing for the Osozaki no Himawari team (hereafter the Osozaki team) was Ikuta Toma-kun (生田斗真), Kashii Yu-san (香椎由宇), Kiritani Kenta-san (桐谷健太), Kimura Fumino-san (木村文乃), Kuninaka Ryoko-san (国仲涼子), and Matsushige Yutaka-san (松重豊).

The Arashi guys naturally give fellow Johnny’s member Ikuta-kun some gentle ribbing:

The “plus-one” guests added to the Arashi side were the comedy duo Black Mayonnaise:

Sakurai-san pokes fun at Kosugi-san, who’s put on some weight. He starts out by asking how many kilos Kosugi-san put on, but then changes it to “how many months is it?” – suggesting that Kosugi-san is pregnant.

The first game is Falling Pipe. The legendary Falling Pipe – a game we haven’t seen in over a year and a half. It’s even better than Cliff Climb, as far as I’m concerned, so why have they left it out for so long? Of all the games that had more than a brief stint on VS Arashi, only Falling Pipe is a one-on-one battle, and it’s always fascinating to watch because you’re never sure what’s going to happen.

The catcher for the Osozaki team was Kiritani Kenta-san, who’s older than the members of Arashi as well as Ikuta-kun, but acts younger.

Matsumoto-kun had the unenviable duty of picking the pipes and trying to psych Kiritani-san out.

Falling Pipe always brings out the goofy in people, and after his turn, Kiritani-san did a victory dance then sat in Ikuta-kun’s lap.

Sakurai-san was up for Arashi. This . . . could get ugly. I don’t recall Sakurai-san ever getting more than 50 points in this game.

Yoshida-san does his best to encourage Sakurai-san:

Toma-kun was the pipe selector opposing Sakurai-san. Surely, he should know plenty of stuff to mention that might throw Sakurai-san off.

They explain the story Ikuta-kun ultimately picked afterward. It was from 15 years ago, and involved them in an elevator. I’ll have to leave the particulars to a better translator, but it had something to do with Sakurai-san getting frightened and shouting “scary!”

The next game was Korokoro Viking with the Arashi team up first. Ninomiya-kun decides that they should go for 400 points (a perfect score would be 450). But do they have a chance with the Black Mayonnaise pair taking the vital orange section which does the scoring?

Afterward, Kosugi-san get one of a number of requests to do his “hee-haw” gag.

The Osozaki team tackled Korokoro Viking next, with Kashii-san and Ikuta-kun handling the orange zone.

Whatever the result, you can be sure Ikuta-kun will have smile perfectly suited to it, but this time the Arashi members surprised him, urging him to also say “hee-haw” a la Kosugi-san.

Black Mayonnaise gave him an earnest applause because he did the gag with good spirit.

The next game was Pinball Runner with Ninomiya-kun running for Arashi. The real issue in this game, though, was with the commanders – Aiba-kun, Ohno-san, Yoshida-san, and Kosugi-san. Can the Black Mayonnaise duo manage to call out numbers while sneaking their gags in? Can Aiba-kun and Ohno-san keep themselves from being paralyzed with laughter?

Well, Nino-kun certainly tries his best.

Ikuta-kun runs for the Osozaki team. He observed how Nino-kun ran sideways and decides to imitate that style.

The commanders are Kashii-san, Kimura-san, and Kuninaka-san:

Next is Bank Bowling. MatsuJun and Yoshida-san kick things off for Arashi . . .

. . . leading to the third time Kosugi-san is pushed into saying “hee-haw.”

In the clean-up role, Ninomiya-kun and Sakurai-san attempt to do something that has never been done before, making November 22nd a day to remember.

The Osozaki team put up the easy-going pair of Kashii-san and Ikuta-kun, but Ikuta-kun’s tired after the running in the previous game, not to mention his participation in all the games so far.

The last game was Kicking Sniper. Matsushige-san, Kiritani-san, and Ikuta-kun represented the Osozaki team. Matsushige-san apparently has some soccer experience, but as we’ve found out before, that’s no indication of potential success in this game.

Last time Kiritani-san was on VS Arashi, he didn’t score at all in this game. He points out that while he’s athletic, it’s in rugby and tennis. He then demonstrates some moves, hamming it up for the crowd.

Aiba-kun, Ohno-san, and Black Mayonnaise were up to kick for the Arashi team. Kosugi-san points out that he, too, played rugby.

Yoshida-san does a set gag, comparing Kosugi-san to Zidane (because of the bald spot – Kosugi-san is in firm denial of his bald spot, covering it up artfully).

There’s some question about how Aiba-kun will do. He seems to put on a steady personality (真面目キャラ – majime kyara), but you can never tell with Aiba-kun.

This was definitely a great episode. It moved smoothly and the guests – especially Ikuta-kun, Kiritani-san, and Black Mayonnaise – made things interesting. The Osozaki team was very competitive, challenging Arashi at every turn.

The Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi for this episode is a tough call, but probably should go to Sakurai-san. He had all the interesting interactions with Toma-kun early on, and that got things started on the right foot. He also got a few a laughs at Kosugi-san’s expense.

I just hope that Falling Pipe is back for good, and that this isn’t a one-time-only thing.